— Aug 15, 2014.
The total number of deaths from the deadly Ebola Virus disease has risen to four as one of the nurses who treated the Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer who brought the virus to the country has died in Lagos.
The Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu confirmed this yesterday in a statement issued by his Special assistant on Media and Communications, Mr Dan Nwomeh.
LEADERSHIP learnt from a reliable source who pleaded anonymity that the nurse, who had been at the B Ward – a male ward which is now referred to as Ebola Ward – of the Yaba Mainland General Hospital, died in the early hours of yesterday.
According to the source, family members of the deceased had since been informed and had reported to the hospital.
Efforts made to reach the state Commissioner for Health, who was said to have been at the hospital proved abortive.
Meanwhile, the federal government said it was treating eight confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease patients with an experimental drug known as Nanosilver, which it said was declared fit for use by Nigerian scientists.
At a press briefing which had in attendance, the ministers of Information, Interior and Environment and Women Affairs, the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the drug was confirmed fit for use and provided by Nigerian scientists for the treatment of the Ebola virus disease patients in Lagos.
The Minister of Health, said that they “will follow all the medical research ethics code of Nigeria in administering the drug which includes the patient’s consent.”
Chukwu also used the opportunity to clarify media reports that 21 persons had been quarantined in Enugu, saying that “only six persons are quarantined in Enugu. Some people assume that merely seeing the lady from a distance will make them to contact the virus, that’s not true.”
He said that the Enugu Ebola case was as a result of one of the nurses who made primary contact with the Liberian man, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, who though quarantined, travelled against the advice of the Incidence Management Committee to Enugu.
“The newly married woman went to visit her husband in Enugu. She did not infect anybody on her way to Enugu as she had not developed any symptoms. You cannot transmit Ebola if you don’t have the symptoms,” he said.
“One of the primary contacts to the Index case disobeyed the incident manager in Lagos and left for Enugu but when she developed symptoms, she immediately contacted a health facility,” said the minister, adding that though the husband of the newly wedded nurse does not have symptoms but because of the intimate relationship, he had to be quarantined also.
According the minister, the nurse and her husband were carried back to Lagos on special ambulances while insisting that nobody has Ebola in Enugu for now.
Prof. Chukwu also said that the 21 primary contacts of Mr. Patrick Sawyer had been released as they did not show any sign of Ebola after the maximum incubation period of 21 days.
He said currently, 11 persons had tested positive to Ebola, three had died- the Liberian man, a nurse and a protocol officer of ECOWAS while 169 were under surveillance.
Chukwu said all of them were secondary contacts to the index case, the American Liberian, Sawyerr.
‘Let me clarify issues on Ebola scare in some states. The disease is still only in Lagos. None of the contacts in Enugu have tested positive. They’re still under close watch. So all the cases are still confined within Lagos State.”
“The Abia case was a Steven Johnson syndrome, the lady reacted to some antimalarial drug she took and we tested and confirmed that it was not Ebola.
‘The Imo corpse from abroad died of gastroenteritis, not Ebola; the Anambra case was not Ebola too and the Abuja case was a diabetic patient who also was HIV positive. It was not Ebola,’ he said.
Chukwu said “the federal government has prohibited the repatriation of corpses from abroad to Nigeria. We have also prohibited the inter-state transportation of corpses without waiver from the government.”
“But if you feel differently, you can apply for a waiver accompanied with death certificate and if we are satisfied, we can give a waiver.”
He disclosed that the ministry had granted two waivers so far; two Nigerians who were brought in from India and Kenya.
Dangote donates N150m
Meanwhile, the Dangote Foundation has donated N150 million to the Ebola Emergency Operation Centre in Lagos.
Making the donation on behalf of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Mrs. Adiembong Adage, said ‘the centre is a platform through which critical investment by government and private sector can be made towards curtailing this Ebola crisis.”
Mrs. Adage encouraged Nigerians to take personal responsibility of the situation and not to panic while making use of the relevant information that were being disseminated by the government.
Also in his contribution, the Information and Communications Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku thanked the Dangote foundation for the donation, ‘by donating 150 million, Dangote foundation has upped the game. We thank them for taking the first step,’ while calling on well-meaning Nigerians to show solidarity to the fight against Ebola.
He also slammed the foreign media who he said were bent on tarnishing the corporate image of Nigeria through the generalization of the Ebola spread in the country.
He said “Some media will quote that Ebola has killed over one thousand in West Africa while putting Nigeria in the figure.”
‘We have noticed two media houses in particular who have continuously refused to send the true picture of Ebola spread in Nigeria in spite of all our efforts to brief the media in very transparent manner. We have not hidden anything as far as this virus is concerned,’ he said.
He pointed out that ‘one of the media has particularly refused to report Ebola but to impugn on the integrity of Nigeria. They will use this unfortunate incident of Ebola to run down the corporate image of our country and our people.
‘If it continues, I can tell you that we are going to take measures. Let it not come to pass that you want to push us to the wall and exploit our magnanimity, our free democratic spirit to run down the image.’
Maku said was only the minister of Health that was empowered to announce any outbreak or new cases of the virus in order to guard against panic and erroneous reportage.
Kwara Orders Closure Of Hospital
The Kwara State government has ordered the immediate closure of Kiddies hospital- a private health facility in Ilorin, the state capital over suspected Ebola virus infection.
Announcing the closure of the hospital, the Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara state governor on public health, Professor Sunday Opabola and his counterpart in the secondary health, Dr Ibrahim Gambari, said the seven-months-old baby suspected to have contacted Ebola virus had already been isolated and quarantined at Sobi specialist hospital.
Hand Shaking Restricted In Lagos Assembly
Fear of Ebola virus has drastically reduced hand shaking among the members of Lagos State House of Assembly and the administrative staff.
LEADERSHIP observed this yesterday at the Assembly complex when one of the lawmakers, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu refused to shake a female journalist, saying Ebola greeting has been introduced.
“ I don’t shake anymore and I only pat my hand on my chest to greet people just for precaution measures”, he said.
NOA takes sensitization To 22 Markets In FCT
As part of efforts to curtail the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), yesterday took its sensitization workshop to Garki market in Abuja.
Speaking at the One-Day Workshop on Security Awareness and Sensitization Campaign on Ebola Virus for Market Women in the FCT, the Director-General of NOA, Mr Mike Omeri, said the essence of taking the sensitization programme to market women was to further sensitize the entire FCT residents.
Hajj 2014: NAHCON Organises Sensitisation Workshop On Ebola
As part of it’s efforts to halt spreading the deadly disease, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has organised a day’s sensitization workshop on the menace of the EVD on intending pilgrims.
Speaking at the workshop, Chairman of the medical committee NAHCON, Dr Ibrahim Kana said that all Nigerians needed good health either at home or abroad and that was why for Hajj Commission whose major function was to convey Nigerians to Saudi Arabia organised the workshop to educate pilgrims on the danger of EVD in the gathering.
…As. KRPC Organises for Host Communities
As part of efforts to prevent the outbreak of the Ebola virus fever within and among people of its host communities, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) yesterday held a sensitization program for its host communities.
Ebola Virus: Enugu Opens Quarantine Centres.
The Government of Enugu State yesterday announced that it had opened four centres in the state where victims of the dreaded Ebola Virus would be quarantined.
The decision followed announcement by the Federal Government last Wednesday that a nurse who was under surveillance over the Ebola Virus Disease escaped from Lagos and made contacts with 20 persons in the state.
Speaking with reporters at Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu, the state Commissioner for Health, George Eze disclosed that the major source of the virus had been contained.
He, however, stated that 21 persons who had contacts with the victim of the virus were currently under surveillance in Enugu.
Osun Inaugurates Committees For Prevention Of Virus
In an attempt to wage war against the dreaded Ebola virus, Osun state government yesterday inaugurated five different committees on the prevention of the disease in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr (Mrs) Temitope Ilori who inaugurated the committees stressed the need for members of the committees to work towards ensuring total prevention of the disease in the state.
First Consultant Doctor Critically Ill
Relatives and concerned friends of the Senior Consultant Physician of the First Consultants Medical Centre, Dr Ameyo Adadevoh, who was put in quarantine had sent SOS to the United States and the international community.
The spokesperson of the group, Dr Ladi Okuboyejo while briefing newsmen in Lagos said that the ‘cry for help’ was as a result of the doctor’s critical state of health.
“We have been following the situation very closely because a couple of us happen to know a number of people who have been put in quarantine.
“And it is obvious to us that the situation is beyond what we can deal with because as we speak, those quarantined are critically ill.
“We, however, feel that there is a need for us to make this urgent cry for help to the international community to come to our aid, ‘’he said.
Okuboyejo commending the chief consultant and other health workers at the First Consultants Medical Centre, Obalende who reported the case to the appropriate health authorities.
“I am a medical doctor and I am surprised that they made the diagnosis in the first instance.
“Because this is a man that could have gone elsewhere and could have been treated for malaria and he could have died and spread the thing like wild fire.
“The chief consultant attended to this patient and he felt it was very necessary for them to send the blood sample for screening. ‘’When it was confirmed to be Ebola Virus Disease, he insisted she must not leave the hospital.
“We are particularly concerned that if someone could be so patriotic as to save millions of Nigerians from the hardship of this pestilence, the least we can do is to make an appeal to the international community for assistance, ‘’ he said.
Okuboyejo commended the efforts of the Federal Government and urged that increased measures be put in place to address the situation.
‘’We know that the government is trying but certainly there is a lot more we can do to improve the situation.
“This why we are making this passionate cry and appeal to the international community to come to our aid so that this doesn’t get out of control.
“Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in Africa and God forbid if this goes out of control. ‘’As we speak, a number of the people being quarantined are critically ill and we are seriously concerned.
“If America can fly their citizens to America for treatment, we need their help and that of the international community, ‘’he added.
LEADERSHIP Friday reports that Nigeria has now recorded ten confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Out of these, four have died and six are currently undergoing treatment.
The fourth death recorded yesterday, Aug. 14 was a Nigerian nurse who participated in the initial management of the index case.
The total number of persons under surveillance in Lagos is now 169. These are all secondary contacts as all the primary contacts have completed the 21-day incubation period and have been delisted to resume their normal lives.